Jay Daniel Thompson reviews 'To the Highlands' by Jon Doust

To the Highlands

by Jon Doust

Fremantle Press, $27.99 pb, 201 pp, 9781821888779

In To the Highlands, the second instalment in a trilogy entitled ‘One Boy’s Journey to Man’, Jon Doust provides a gripping examination of racism and male sexuality in 1960s Australia.

In the novel’s opening pages, Jack Muir arrives on some unnamed ‘islands’ to take up a banking job. Muir is barely out of high school. His early days in his new surroundings are marked by drunken carousing that, in turn, affects his work performance. Rather than sack him, Muir’s manager moves his youthful employee to another branch ‘in the highlands’. Shortly after this second relocation, Muir becomes infatuated with a beautiful dark-skinned woman named Margaret. Is this infatuation genuine or a by-product of Muir’s raging hormones? How will his desire for Margaret be received by the island’s xenophobic residents?

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Published in October 2012 no. 345
Jay Daniel Thompson

Jay Daniel Thompson

Jay Daniel Thompson lectures in the Media and Communications program at the University of Melbourne. For information on his research achievements, see his website: https://unimelb.academia.edu/JayDanielThompson

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